At the 17th anniversary of the second Markale market massacre, the families of those who died are bitter that the crime is still being denied by the Bosnian Serbs.
Past verdicts of the Hague Tribunal have concluded that on August 28, 1995, several shells were fired from Army of Republika Srpska positions at the centre of the besieged city of Sarajevo.
One of these shells fell in front of the northern entrance to the city’s Markale market in Mula Mustafe Baseskije Street, killing 43 and wounding 84 people.
Nasuf Rasevic’s brother was one of those killed.
“We were together that day, but I went to the Eternal Flame and he stayed at the market. When the shell fell, I ran towards the market and saw that my brother had been killed. They did not let me through, but I saw my dead brother on the handrails,“ recalled Nusuf Rasevic.
Although 17 years have passed, Rasevic says that the most difficult thing for him to deal with are the denials of the responsibility for the Markale massacre, and he primarily blames the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina for permitting these denials.
Nasiha Celebic, whose brother was also killed in the August shelling of the Markale market, says that the denials of the crime by the Bosnian Serbs offends her.
“I’m deeply offended when the murders at Markale are denied. It is tough living with that even after so many years,” said Celebic.
Two members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zeljko Komsic and Bakir Izetbegovic, as well as the prime minister of the Sarajevo Canton, Fikret Music, paid their respects to the victims that died at Markele. No officials from Republika Srpska attended the ceremony.
“The forces that carried out the aggression on Bosnia had no consideration for either the timing or location of the attack. They wanted Bosnia to disappear. Thank God that did not happen,"
"This place, as well as other places where people died, are a warning, and send a message to young people that they can live together, side by side, in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a dignified manner,” said Music.
Zeljko Komsic, the Croatian member of the Bosnian tripartite Presidency, said that the murder of his fellow citizens hurts him as much today as it did in 1995.
“The years pass and I hurt just the same. I am also aware that we simply must move on. We have to continue living knowing that such a crime was committed and make something normal of this country, but it still hurts,” said Komsic.
The Hague Tribunal has sentenced two former commanders of the Sarajevo-Romania Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska for the shelling campaign against Sarajevo. Stanislav Galic was sentenced to life imprisonment and Dragomir Milosevic to 29 years in prison.
The former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, and the former Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, who are currently on trial at the Hague Tribunal, are also charged with these crimes.
Tuesday’s commemoration marks the second massacre at the Markale market. The first massacre took place on February 5, 1994, when a single shell fell killing 68 and wounding 144 people.